RCM responds to Brexit secretary's comments

on 06 December 2017 Brexit NHS Staff

The RCM’s Jon Skewes has responded to comments made by the Brexit secretary David Davis about Brexit and the impact on NHS staff.

The secretary of state for exiting the EU David Davis has reportedly told a Parliamentary Brexit Committee that he doesn’t think that Brexit will lead to a shortage of staff in the NHS.

Responding to this comment, RCM director for policy employment and communications Jon Skewes said that while he hopes the secretary is right, he has real doubts that this is the case, as the evidence is already suggesting the opposite.

‘Figures released by the NMC showed that in June 2016 alone, twice as many midwives from elsewhere in the EU registered to practise in the UK than registered in the entire first six months of 2017,’ said Jon. ‘The flow of midwives coming in from the EU is all but dried up, largely because of the refusal of the government to guarantee their status post-Brexit,’ he added.

Jon said that what is needed from David Davis and the government is a commitment that midwives and NHS staff from other parts of the EU can stay in the UK after Brexit.

He added: ‘The RCM believes that the government should immediately confirm that EU midwives currently working in the NHS will have the right to live permanently in the UK. This should also apply to any who start working for the NHS before the UK withdraws from the EU.

‘Tens of thousands of EU workers in our NHS are facing terrible uncertainty about their jobs and their futures, and these are people who make a huge contribution to the NHS. To lose them would be a significant blow to the NHS and its ability to deliver safe and high-quality care. These are people with homes and with families and they are left in a terrible state of limbo because of the government’s failure to act. I call upon the government again to give these NHS staff the right to stay so that they can face and plan their future with certainty.’